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Sat nav theft from ambulances - 'lowest of the low'
SAT navs, uniform jackets and response bags containing vital medical supplies are just some of the items residents in the town have stolen from ambulances.
Unison leaders have described the findings as ‘despicable’ as thieves have pinched items while paramedics are working to save lives and treat critically ill patients.
A Warrington Guardian Freedom of Information request revealed there have been nine thefts from vehicles in the last three years at the town’s ambulance base, hospital and at the scene of callouts.
Dave Robb, Merseyside and Cheshire area convener at the North West Ambulance Service Unison branch, added: “It’s totally appalling and the lowest of the low.
“But unfortunately it’s the society we live in and there are far more decent people than the minority that do this kind of thing.
“We know with the help of the police and public vigilance we can reduce this but sometimes thieves take full advantage of staff trying to deal with patients who are either critically ill or need our attention.
“It leaves a sour taste in your mouth but sadly that’s the environment we are in at a time of debt and people taking desperate measures.”
After a series of thefts in towns and cities across the country, ambulances have now been fitted with CCTV in an attempt to stop the problem.
Automatic locking mechanisms have also been installed but as Mr Robb points out, if doors have to be left open so paramedics can retrieve equipment quickly in an emergency it often leaves them vulnerable to opportunist thieves.
He added: “We try our best with preventative measures but we also have to deliver a service where we look after people.
“We have had situations at other stations where thieves have taken the keys for ambulances and they’re found abandoned later but we have a tight security system in the north west to provide less opportunities.”
Derek Cartwright, director of paramedic emergency service said they ‘fully support’ the prosecution of anyone caught stealing from vehicles.
He added: “Despite our best efforts to secure our vehicles, mindless thieves still feel it is acceptable to steal our equipment, as well as staff’s personal belongings, regardless of the consequences.
“The damage caused and time taken to get equipment replaced takes a vehicle off the road and as a result not responding to emergency incidents.”
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